You Do Not Have to Listen to the Shit That You Think
For the last two months I have wanted to put content into the world that you, lovely reader, would genuinely like to read. I’ve pondered writing about sustainable fashion, what I experienced traveling, my entrepreneurial experience…
Before you scroll back thinking you must have missed something, you didn’t. I have written precisely nothing. Here are some of the reasons why:
- I don’t have anything interesting to say
- Everything I could possibly think of has already been said
- I'm not an entrepreneur, I'm an imposter
- Before I make any comments I should go to the library and study everything that’s ever been written on the topic in the last 20 years. You know what, I should probably go ahead and enroll in some classes on the topic
- Oh look, my closet needs to be organized…..
Anyone else? I might be creative but I don’t think I invented these excuses to not getting started.
And that’s all they are, excuses. They aren’t curious or thoughtful questions intended to be helpful, gather evidence or seek solutions. They are definite pronouncements which are negative and not based in actual evidence, with some good ol' fashion procrastination thrown in when the thought spiral gets out of control.
This, my dear ladies, is the ugly face of self doubt.
I realized this yesterday listening to Mel Robbins, best selling author and sought after motivational speaker, speak about self doubt. She said,
‘If an action can solve a problem, you don’t have a problem.’
I might think I have nothing to say, but this problem has a solution. I can just….say something. It’s almost radical in its simplicity. She also said,
‘You are always growing and changing. You are a constant work in progress’
We used to think that the brain stopped growing at 25 years old, but now we know that isn’t true. This is why we can constantly learn new things. We also regenerate all of our cells every 7 years. Therefore, we are always a work in progress.
So I give myself permission to be a work in progress.
I will put work out into the world and I will succeed, or I will survive. But either way, next week, next year and in 10 years I will be better and more confident. That is the key: action is necessary to build confidence, not the other way around.
That is the biggest takeaway I can pass on from Mel Robbins- confidence is the decision to try. It doesn’t appear one morning when you just wake up and proclaim yourself a confident person. It comes from building competence.
You need to witness yourself being the type of person that takes the action you are looking to build confidence around.
I love the work of Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big. She talks about the inner critic in her book. That voice that we have inside of us that guards the edge of our comfort zone. She says:
‘Being accurate isn’t the aim of the inner critic; getting you to avoid emotional risk is.’
I have revisited this today because of how Tara relates this to the female experience specifically. She says that the inner critic likes to speak up loudly in the face or vulnerability (real or perceived), and for women the stakes are particularly high.
Women following their dreams might be called aggressive or not likable. A bitch. I’ve been there.
The presence of these critics, both the ones out in the world and the self doubt in your mind, are not something to run away from. In fact, they mean that you are, in Mohr’s language, ‘playing big’. If you are chasing your dreams, your inner critic is going to go CRAZY. That’s because you are putting yourself into a position of vulnerability. So instead of beating yourself up, celebrate it! You are onto something. The important part is knowing that this voice is not you, it is separate from you.
Mohr talks about the importance of naming your inner critic to emphasize the fact that it is separate from you. This simple act is liberating because it establishes yourself as a person that is aware of the inner voice, and that the voice is an intruder.
From now on, my inner critic is Barbara. She wants to keep me safe, and I understand that, but I respectfully decline her point of view. She is not me, she is a mechanism and a habit. When I hear her speak I will acknowledge it, and instead of going into a spiral inside my mind I will take an action. One that demonstrates to me that I am the type of person who….writes blog posts. Whose opinion matters.
I am going to do this because of cost of not is just too great. Self doubt does not care if I live a fulfilled day in my life. BUT I DO. Ladies, repeat after me:
‘You do not have to listen to the shit that you think.’
That is what I heard from Mel Robbins and that is my new mantra.
Think of all the books that could go unwritten, the talents unused, the businesses not started if we believe the crazy shit that our minds come up with to keep us playing small. Ladies, the world needs what you have to offer. We will all be better off when you let your light shine. So I vow not to be unafraid, but to not let the fear dictate my thoughts and my behavior.
Are you in?